World’s First Synthetic Microbe Accused of Copyright Infringement by James Joyce’s Estate
When Craig Venter created a synthetic microbe, he inserted a passage from James Joyce. Guess who’s upset? Joyce’s estate, claiming copyright infringement:
In order to distinguish their synthetic DNA from that naturally present in the bacterium, Venter’s team coded several famous quotes into their DNA, including one from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist of a Young Man: “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.”
After announcing their work, Venter explained, his team received a cease and desist letter from Joyce’s estate, saying that he’d used the Irish writer’s work without permission. ”We thought it fell under fair use,” said Venter.